Psychology - the biological approach

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  • Assumptions of the Biological approach
    • Assumption 1 - Evolutionary influences
      • In psychology the theory of evolution has been used to explain how the human mind and behavior have changed over millions of years so that they are adapted to the to the demands of our individual environments. Notion of adaptiveness is based on Darwin's theory of natural selection.
        • EEA - The environment of evolutionary adaptiveness. Evolutionary psychologists don't assume that all behaviours are adaptive - only the ones that will ensure survival in that individuals particular environment.
    • Assumption 2 - Localisation of brain function
      • Refers to the principle that certain areas of the brain are responsible for different functions. The cerebral cortex is the area of the brain responsible for higher order cognitive functions.
        • Four lobes - The cerebral cortex is divided into four regions: frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital.
          • Frontal lobes are involved in thinking and creativity.
          • Parietal lobes receive sensory information such as temperature, touch and pain.
          • Temporal lobes are responsible for much of our memory processing as well as the process of auditory information.
          • Occipital lobes are concerned with visual processing and receive information directly from the eyes.
        • Localisation of language - Paul Broca studied the brains of patients with language problems and discovered their brains had damage to a specific area in the left hemisphere, named Broca's area it is associated with speech production.
    • Assumption 3 - Neurotransmitters
      • Neurons are electrically excitable cells that form the basis of the nervous system. One neuron communicates with another neuron at a synapse, where the messenger is relayed by neurotransmitters.
        • Neurotransmitters have been found to play a significant role in our mental health.


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